The parish of Lambeth adopted the Public Library Act (which allowed the expenditure of 1/2d rate on libraries) in December 1886 following a vigorous campaign to reverse the results of an earlier poll of ratepayers which had rejected it. The Vestry appointed nine library commissioners on 3 February 1887, and at a public meeting in Lambeth Palace Library in May large subscriptions were promised to provide for sites and buildings so that the rate could be used solely for upkeep and the purchase of books. The commissioners were replaced by a Libraries committee after 1900. When the London Borough of Lambeth was set up in 1965, a number of libraries formerly in Wandsworth became part of the Lambeth system, and the committee was renamed the Libraries and Public Relations Committee, with a Libraries Sub-committee to deal with day-to-day matters. In January 1969 the public relations element was removed from its responsibilites and the committee renamed Libraries and Amenities, altered to Libraries and Amenity Services in 1970. In April 1972 this became Amenity Services, with libraries a division of the Directorate.
Originally each library was run as a fairly self-contained unit, but in the 1960s the concept of zones, each containing two or three of the borough's libraries was introduced. In September 1970 a pilot schem of neighbourhood libraries was introduced, whereby one library in each zone became a 'central' library with the others as smaller satellites. This scheme was adopted borough-wide in June 1971. The library service also instituted 'out-reach', taking collections of books to old people's homes, youth groups, and luncheon clubs.
When these records were received, they were not included with other Council records but separately classified. However, any library records deposited after 1972 have been listed as Council archives, and references to library matters are to be found in printed Council and Vestry minutes.
A list of dates of opening is given below, and futher details will be found under individual libraries in the relevant section of this list. See also council minutes, cuttings file.
West Norwood 21 July 1888 IV/63/15
South Lambeth (Tate) 1 December 1889 IV/63/11
Durning 6 November 1889 IV/63/6
Minet 19 July 1890 IV/63/9
Tate, Brixton (Central) 4 March 1893 IV/63/4
North Lambeth 2 December 1893 IV/63/10
Upper Norwood 1899
Carnegie 9 July 1906 IV/63/17
Jeffreys 23 April 1960 IV/63/17
St Martin's 5 May 1962 IV/63/16
South Island Place 22 Sept. 1962 IV/63/12
Former Wandsworth Libraries;
Clapham 31 October 1889 IV/63/5
Streatham (Tate) 17 April 1891 IV/63/13
Former Wandsworth Libraries:
Streatham Vale 20 October 1938 IV/63/14
Clapham Park 21 October 1954
The Upper Norwood Library is run jointly with the London Borough of Croydon, and is not part of the zone system.
IV/63/1 Libraries- general ( includes former IV/15-IV/21)
IV/63/2 Chief Librarian's files
IV/63/3 Carnegie Library, Herne Hill
IV/63/4 Central Library Brixton (lending).
IV/63/5 Clapham Library
IV/63/6 Durning Library
IV/63/7 Reference Library, Brixton
IV/63/8 Gramophone Record Library, Brixton.
IV/63/9 Minet Library (including Surrey Collection) includes former IV/12
IV/63/10 North Lambeth Library (Noble) includes former IV/25, IV/9
IV/63/11 South Lambeth (Tate) Library (includes IV/13)
IV/63/12 South Island Library
IV/63/13 Streatham (Tate) Library (includes IV/40)
IV/63/14 Streatham Vale Library
IV/63/15 West Norwood Library
IV/63/16 St Martin's Library
IV/63/17 Jeffreys Library